Personal Health Information Needs and Practices for Maternal Fetal Care (Tennessee)

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Patients and families are increasingly adopting health information technologies to meet information needs.  Women have unique information needs during their pregnancies, ranging from medical questions about pregnancy to logistical concerns about hospital policies. The complete range of these information needs and the extent to which they are being met are not known. This project is designed to understand these needs, the contexts in which they occur, and the resources used by pregnant women and their spouses, partners, or other caregivers. There are known racial and ethnic disparities in the use of health information technologies, and this project will seek to understand the types of information and methods of accessing information across a diverse population. Women and caregivers will be recruited from a group prenatal care program as well as from a maternal fetal medicine center in order to include families that have pregnancy complications or children who have congenital anomalies.

The primary objectives of this project are to:

  • Describe the characteristics, capacities, preferences, and beliefs of pregnant patients and their caregivers.
  • Characterize their health information needs and information management practices.
  • Examine the use of My Health at Vanderbilt, a patient portal, and other health information technologies, to meet health information needs.  

The project will use a variety of methods including interviews, patient journals, and analysis of the use of Web sites, blogs, and other online tools to assess what women and their caregivers want to know during and after pregnancy. The research team will measure user capacities in terms of demographics, literacy, and numeracy as well as under-appreciated factors such as stress, sleepiness, mood, and illness. In addition, participants will be trained to use the My Health at Vanderbilt patient portal and the research team will study how this portal is used to meet information needs.

The study will provide an understanding of information needs, management strategies, and preferences in the perinatal setting and use this information to produce design guidance for the creation of health information technologies for pregnant women and their caregivers.

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